The statistics for trauma, alcoholism and drug addiction are significantly higher among the LGBT than with other individuals but why and how are they affected?
According to Social Work Today, national research efforts demonstrate that drug abuse is twice as common among the LGBT community compared to their non-LGBT peers. While the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that the rate of substance abuse is 9 percent in the general population, the LGBT rates are as high as 20-30 percent. There are many factors that contribute to the elevated levels of trauma and addiction in the LGBT community.
The stress that comes from the daily battles with discrimination and stigma is a principle driver of these higher rates of substance use, as gay and transgender people turn to substances as a way to copy with these challenges. A lack of culturally competent substance abuse services also fuels high addiction rates among the LGBT community.
Factors leading to higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse for LGBT
- Many LGBT people live with a high level of stress that comes from social prejudice and discriminatory laws in areas of daily life such as employment, relationship recognition and health care. Minority stress is dealt with daily and is triggered by general social prejudice against being LGBT, as well as discriminatory laws and policies.
- A lack of cultural competency in the health care system discourages LGBT people from seeking substance abuse treatment, and – if they do seek help – often leads to inappropriate or irrelevant services.
- Targeted marketing efforts by substance abuse companies exploit the connection many LGBT people have to bars and clubs as safe spaces for socializing and increase easy access to drugs and alcohol.
It is currently legal in 23 states for LGBT individuals to be denied employment, fired or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. This in turn, poses a a real threat to the economic security of LGBT workers by leading to job instability and to have access to employer health insurance. This not only discriminates against these individuals, but also of their families.
All of the above facts are can cause trauma to LGBT individuals and increase the risk of drug addiction and alcoholism. For more information on trauma and addiction treatment for LGBTQA, please contact Lotus Place Recovery at (888) 735-3832,
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